MILLIONS of people joined defiant demonstrations and marches
across France over the weekend after three days of Islamist terror
At the heart of the show of unity was a march of 1.5 million
people in Paris in solidarity with the satirical magazine
Charlie Hebdo, and the other victims - police officers,
and shoppers in a kosher supermarket.
About 40 world leaders, including David Cameron, joined the
march at the request of the President, Francois Hollande.
Many among the crowds waved placards with the slogan Je suis
Charlie; others brandished pencils and pens in support of the
staff of Charlie Hebdo. Among the ten killed in the attack
were four of the most celebrated satirical cartoonists in
One young boy was photographed holding a sign which read: "Later
I will be a journalist. I'm not afraid!"
Thousands of soldiers and police officers have been sent to
guard sensitive locations in France, including Jewish schools and
public places, and the cabinet will hold crisis meetings. The
country remains on its highest terror alert.
The Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, has said that there were
failures of intelligence in the lead-up to the deadly wave of
attacks. The three gunmen, Said and Cherif Kouachi, and Amedy
Coulibaly, were known to French security services, and had met
while in prison for terror-related offences.
Mr Coulibaly's partner, Hayat Boumeddiene, was named by the
police as a suspect in the attacks, but has so far eluded capture.
Some reports suggest that she has fled France and flown to the
On Friday, Pope Francis sent a telegram to the Archbishop of
Paris, Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, expressing his condolences to
the families of the victims: "His Holiness Pope Francis joins in
prayer with the pain of the bereaved families and the sadness of
all the French. The Holy Father reiterates his condemnation of the
violence, which generates so much suffering, and, imploring God to
give the gift of peace, he assures the affected families and all
the French the benefit of divine blessings."
Earlier last week, the Archbishop of Canterbury released a
statement, in French and English, urging France to remain united in
the face of terror. "The people of France, a country in which I
have lived, which I know and love, will rise courageously above the
challenge of this vile attack and continue to demonstrate strength
and confidence arising out of their great history," he said.
In Britain, there have been demonstrations in support of freedom
of speech and Charlie Hebdo, and numerous groups and organisations
have released statements condemning the attacks. Among them were
the Muslim Council of Britain, the Islamic Society of Britain, the
Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe, the British Humanist
Association, and the International Humanist and Ethical Union. The
Church of England has released prayers for the victims.
In Chelmsford, the Dean, the Very Revd Nicholas Henshall, and
the imam of Chelmsford Mosque, Kashif Ahmad, stood side by side in
a public display of solidarity to denounce the killings in Paris as
an affront to Christians and Muslims alike.
An act of public remembrance was held in Sheffield near the
city's cenotaph. Local politicians and representatives of different
faith groups, including the Bishop of Sheffield, the Rt Revd Steven
Croft, reflected on the atrocities in Paris.